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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Tula Pink Visits Walla Walla

Tula Pink visited Walla Walla on July 27 & 28 for a meet-n-greet, workshop, and lecture.  I elected to do only the "lecture" since I had a lovely mentoring symposium in Portland the day before, but I did go with Shanna!  One of our lovely quilt stores hosted the event: Stash.

Here are some pictures from the "lecture," which is more like Q & A with some hilarious stories and lessons learned from Tula herself!
Design process
2 colorways

Who knew that designing fabric would  be so complicated?!
Tula with her 1st "quilt"

Workshop: Stacks

Tula's alphabet pattern
"Birds & the Bees" label
"Parisville" label

"Tula of the Sea" label

Tula's experience with cornstalks
Cornstalks quilt
Things I did not know:
  • fabric in the store was designed 18 months ago
  • 4 stages to the design process: creating -- printing -- editing -- production
  • there are grades assigned to designers depending on how much they are able to sell.  Apparently you want to have a following that can sell around 3,000 yards.  I am not sure if that is per print or per line.
  • Tula gets only 1 yard of fabric of each fabric in each colorway in advance to make her samples 6 weeks before the International Quilt Market . . . which is what she uses to sell herself/image for quilt shops.
  • a line of fabric can be 18 different prints . . . that has to be narrowed down to 6 (for what she is able to sell via fabric company)
  • Tula sketches one half of a design to be reflected and mirrored for production.  She is an amazing artist!
  • Moda pre-sells . . . so if you see a Moda fabric and you love it, you better buy it because it is NOT coming back.
  • Tula is with Free Spirit, they will keep making the fabric as long as it is selling.  *whew!*
  • Interested?  Apparently fabric companies get over 500 submissions a month from artists too who want to design fabric.  Tula's suggestion: present in your own unique way, how are you different than the next person???
  • Inspiration: Tula starts with a story, designs emerge from that story; intriguing how artists "work"
  • Licensing is a fascinating concept.  Tula sells her designs for 2 years to the company to use specifically for 44/45" cotton fabric.  She can also sell the same design to a different company to make canvas.  Very specific and detail oriented.
Spacedust quilt
Spacedust upclose

Prince Charming pencil sketch
Tree of Life pencil sketch


Line = collection of fabric
Colorway = colors or group of colors in one line of fabric.  Tula's bare minimum is 6 prints in one colorway.  You can't have just ONE amazing fabric, you have to do accompanying prints . . . in the quilting world.  :-)
Samples = If you make it, people will buy it.  Quilt stores have to show people how to use fabric to inspire others to make it as well.  Stores also sell kits.  It is all about how much fabric you can sell.  Tula loves quilts so she makes quilts.  Amy Butler likes making bags and clothing.  Etc.
Yard = fabric is measured in yards (3 ft. = 1 yd.).  You can buy smaller lengths (1/2 yard, 1/4 yard, etc.)
44/45" = quilting fabric is usually sold 44/45" widths.  If you have 1 yard, the piece of fabric will be 36" x 44/45".  Some companies have 44" some have 45", so they are generally grouped together on a bolt 44/45".
Bolt = fabric is usually sold to stores by the bolt, can vary 15 yards to 25 yards per bolt.  Every company is different.

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